Chichester dam water storage rises 35 per cent in three days

Water storage at Chichester Dam has gone up by 35 per cent in three days after rain soaked the region last week.

The Dungog water catchment went from 65 per cent full to capacity in the three days to Sunday.

Hunter Water spokesman Nick Kaiser said the dam level had consistently increased since the start of autumn.

It was a much-needed rise, after the dam dropped down to 52.7 per cent at the end of February.

The level was so low that Hunter Water was forced to use water from Grahamstown Dam to supply the areas Chichester usually serviced including Beresfield, Thornton, Maitland and Cessnock.

“It’s in a much more stable condition now,” he said.

Mr Kaiser said the consistent rainfall across the past few weeks had helped replenish dam levels across the region.

The total storage across Chichester, Grahamstown, Tomago and Anna Bay was 81.2 per cent as of Monday.

This was an increase of more than five per cent, or 13,800 megalitres since the end of February.

While the levels are better than they were, Mr Kaiser said total storage was still lower than it was in March 2016.

Mr Kaiser said about this time last year, the combined total of the four dams was more than 90 per cent.

“It’s a good 10 per cent less than this time last year,” he said.

He said the long, dry period at the start of the year meant the small amount of rainfall was absorbed straight into the environment.

Mr Kaiser said consistent rainfall should see the levels get to where they needed to be ahead of next summer.

Storage levels should continue to rise this week, with wet weather forecast across the Hunter over the next few days.

There is at least a 60 per cent chance of rain in Maitland each day until Saturday.

While the weather is set to bring water levels up on its own, Mr Kaiser said Hunter Water still encouraged people to be conscious of their water usage through winter.

He said the dams needed as much water as possible to cater for the drier summer months.

During last summer alone, water storage dropped from 95 to 75 per cent.

“While [rain] should top things up, it’s not necessarily something you can count on,” he said.

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